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Month Index: October, 1994


From:     Ville Lavonius <Ville.Lavonius@??.????????.cs>
Date:     Fri, 21 Oct 1994 17:30:51 +0200 (EET)
Subject:  Re: callisto.txt
Callisto - A primal Jovian moon

Earthworld, size D
Normal atmosphere, just cosmetically different
Standard EWS-gravity
Orbits Jupiter in 39 days on a non-level plane
Period of Rotation is 33 hours
No satellites
Weather is rough all over the planet

Danger Index: C (wildlife, weather)
Resources: B
Spelljamming activity: High
Bases: Jovian, most Trading companies, (diplomats stay in Ganymede
       so no embassies)

Reputation:
"Ooooh.  Number two in Jovia.  But I'd prefer it over Callisto any
day.  No pressgangs.  No violence.  And no blood on the streets.
All in all more civilized." -- Mardian Cnel, wealthy merchant from
Waterdeep
"Bah.  's bo-ring."  --  Bor'nakgh, lizardman 2nd mate on 'Render'
"Amazing, I lost two fingers in Venus, and they managed to
regenerate them back here.  At a low cost too.  Now I'm heading back
to Venus, but I'll wear gauntlets from now on."  --Farnc Elado,
Jovian Explorer


Appearance from space:  Emerald green sphere, small seas, not much
height differences, no polar caps.  Several big cities visible from
orbit (even without spyglasses), lots of ships around.

Geological Facts:  Callisto is tectonically dead, what mountain
formations occurred happened millennia ago - within Jovian records
there's no mention of any earthquakes or volcanic events.  And
erosion has taken good care of the old mountains, most ranges have
degenerated into foothills.
In minerals callisto is rather rich, as in gemstones.  Mines are all
over the planet, but the deposits usually dry out in years, so the
mining operations are constantly on the move. The bedrock is soft
and ancient rivers have gnawed huge canyon-systems into it (the are
up to five miles wide and two deep), these gigantic valleys
crisscross large sections of planet's drier areas.  However, not all
bedrock is so soft, quite the reverse.  In Callisto glassteel occurs
naturally, sometimes in huge veins.  Usually topsoil is unable to
cling to the smooth material, and the deposits are large bald
patches in the greenery.  The glassteel has been subjected to
erosion, and the top layers are usually not very pure anymore.  The
composition of the surface layers of glassteel change with the
rotations (the period is twelve revolutions around Jupiter, also the
period of resuming an old orbit due to non-level plane of orbiting).
During the three first orbitals mining is impossible as the surface
hardens and slightly smoothens out, but slowly it seems to decompose
to a slightly sticky but by no means soft material during the
following revolutions.  Then, all of a sudden, it completely re-
crystallizes overnight.
Callisto has a very strong magnetic field, which renders compasses
useless.

Weather:  Callisto's sky is not quite normal, after sunset (even on
the present darkside of Jupiter) the sky glows for hours -
prolonging the growing season of plants.  The glow is constant, but
occasional flickers have been reported - the color varies dependent
on the month (it follows the Jovian calendar exactly, even when the
Auditors include special days within the months).
The weather patterns over Callisto share one common thing - they are
very rough.  When it rains, it causes floods, when it storms, trees
are uprooted and so on.  The glowing sky is blamed to be some sort
of catalyst for this, as it keeps the planet's temperature unchanged
during the night (and also prevents any glaciation in the polar
regions), but these claims have never been substantiated.

Flora and Fauna:  Callisto's plantlife is pretty much like anywhere
else, apart from a couple of unique species.  In the canyons of old
rivers grow the Hel-intha, or Gigatrees in non-elven.  These
immense trees commonly achieve heights of two to three miles, and in
particularly good spots (a crossing of two canyons), may reach up to
six miles in height.
These trees are inhabited by the local elves without exception, only
a few trees on the planet are without a tribe.
Wildlife on Callisto is abundant, and it's an impressive place to
organize safaris.  The animals here just seem to grow larger and
meaner than their colleagues elsewhere.  And there's no known
monsters on Callisto, all creatures are entirely normal in nature.
This is due to the large number of temporary gates to the outer
plane of Beastlands.  These gates exist but for minutes, but this is
usually long enough to spew a few new animals into the wilderness.
No gate has ever been witnessed in action, and so far it's not known
whether they work both ways (this might solve a few missing person-
cases).

History:  Life evolved on Callisto at the same rate as elsewhere.
The first sophonts to break the barrier of sentience were the tree-
elves and humans, some dwarves lived in the more mountainous
regions, but were exterminated in racial wars that lasted for dozens
of years.  When the arcane came to peddle their devices, the elves
had retreated back to their old druidic culture, and only the humans
were interested in space travel.  They quickly met with their
neighbors on Ganymede, and decided that an alliance would be the
best course of action.  The Jovian League was born, and nothing
seems to be able to separate these two moons again.

Inhabitants:  The elves are very secretive, and the valleys are
regarded as 'their' space, as they do not approve of visitors nor
neighbors.  Even contacts by their space-dwelling brethren have
turned violent in short order.
The humans of Callisto are of the common Jovian stock, though far
more relaxed and less bloodthirsty than their frustrated cousins on
Ganymede.  The callistans are less militant, but still every city
has a huge garrison in it, just in case.  Also the fleet circling
Callisto is larger than necessary, but its' upkeep costs is accepted
by the populace for the security it provides.  Callisto has been
thoroughly explored during the years, and the humans think that they
are close to taming the entire planet for their own use.
Some of the gnomish immigrants have taken it to themselves to
explore the intricacies of magnetism.  Fortunately, so far the
planet has escaped with far less harm than Europa. The gnomes' two
inventions that seem to be in stable condition are the magna-ship
(that uses two magnets' polar difference to fly) and an armorial
compressor (a bizarre weapon that squeezes a metal armor powerfully,
with damage to the person inside, of course).

Cities:  Callisto is a populous planet, but none of the
megalopolises here has achieved the fame (or notoriety) of Jovia
Prime on Ganymede.  Most cities have some sort of starports, those
situated near open water usually have large docking facilities.
Most of the Jovian shipbuilding industry is on Ganymede, Callisto
has a few military shipyards, but the civilian business is
concentrated near Jovia Prime.

Other notable sites:  The glassteel mines are spread all over the
planet, usually the material is shaled, melted and further refined.
Despite its' availability, glassteel is by no means cheap here, just
cheaper than anywhere else.  The mines are run by the Jovian League,
no freelancing is allowed, and any material sales have to be
carefully accounted. It is treason to divulge any of the methods
used in refining to other nations, and punished by impalement,
glassteel itself is available to any bidders.
In and around the city of Cesena (pop. 80'000) has been lots of
trouble lately, caused by an organization called the Naked Knights,
who are clad in lightweight glassteel armor (usually the material is
so heavy that any fast movements are seriously hampered).  How they
came by the metal, and why are they resisting the Jovians so
anxiously is a mystery.  So far none of them has been captured, and
any efforts to contact the spirits of slain ones have been
fruitless.  However, their features are exactly Jovian, and on a
captured 'traitor' knight's head is a major bounty.
Another new threat to Callistan society is the appearance of Pipers.
It is not known whether they are a subspecies of the Satyrs that are
common on Ganymede, or some sort of fiend.  They have a
devastatingly powerful charming ability, and scores of villages, and
even some towns have been discovered empty after the inhabitants
have been led away.
Lizardmen have recently started exploring the long day's effects on
their eggs, careful arrangements of mirrors have been set up in
several locations to maximize the effects of nightlight.  So far no
announcements of results have been made, and the sites themselves
are not open to public.
At the Majestic naval base near Llewsor is a captured Oortling ship
(the only one so far). The crashed saucer (and five Oortling
carcasses) was taken in six years ago, and the base put under
maximum security, nobody who was there at the time has got any
leaves, and is permanetly stationed there.  And all new arrivals
have to swear to permanent secrecy, or 'disappear' in dubious
circumstances.  The base has expanded heavily both in size and
number of people, but none of the materials have been imported,
instead they use mostly scratch-built and jury-rigged equivalents
hacked together at the base.  Absolutely nobody knows what is going
on at the base, but speculations run wild (several of the loudest
verbal explorers have been silenced, either with money or steel).
The few largest bald glassteel areas have lately been used for
speedskimming, landbased spelljamming with sled-like craft.  The
sport attracts the idle rich, first from just Jovia, but last year
saw much more interspherical audience during the gliding season
(very much dependent on monthly 'climate'.)

Adventure seeds:

Gamey bits:  Callisto has very strong connections with some other
planes of existence, namely the Beastlands and the positive material
plane.  The implications of former were discussed under Flora and
Fauna, but the latters' effects are much more visible.  Healing
works very rapidly on Callisto (spells work at 2x efficiency if the
priest in question has a major sphere in healing), and natural
healing is far more effective than anywhere else (people very rarely
get ill on Callisto - no mechanic can cover this).
Also, since negative and positive planes are polarized, the close
connection with latter means that any contact with the former is
very diminished - thus undeath is an unknown phenomenon on Callisto,
and any visiting undead persons lose 1 HD / hour spent on Callisto,
the effect does not extend up to the orbit) any created undead
(zombies or skeletons come to mind first) shrivel up to nothingness
in a matter of minutes after touching down on Callisto.
Dreams and dreaming is a very little researched part of life in
fantasy space, but dreams appear to have some connections to the two
energy planes, as nobody has nightmares on Callisto, and overall the
dreams tend to be very vivid and easily recalled later.
The only disadvantage to this strong positive power is the frequency
of spontaneous combustion.  Whereas on other planets the phenomenon
is unknown or confined to some unique cases, it happens with
regularity on Callisto (no mechanic, or you might use a 1% chance /
month spent on Callisto).  Smokepowder is also very unstable on
Callisto, and even the local giff disdain its' use (it tends to
combust and explode by itself too, with much higher regularity than
people).

Sources:  no real plagiarism on Callisto.  Oortling menace is
somewhat taken from Whitley Strieber's rantings.  Pipers are based
on an article on RQ in an ages-old White Dwarf (and a take-on on the
Hameln myth.)  And spontaneous combustion is just another piece of
urban folklore that has a convenient explanation in fantasy space.

--
Ville.Lavonius@????????.fi             into    the           flood    again
http://www.cs.helsinki.fi/~lavonius/   same  old   trip  it was back   then



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